Viz Communications, Inc. and Shueisha Inc. have announced that they are launching a new mass market boys magazine in the US based on Shueisha's Shonen Jump. Shonen Jump is the best-selling boys magazine in Japan, with a circulation of over 3.4 million. Viz is targeting a one million copy circulation in North America within three years, by utilizing the best-known anime properties (based on manga originally published in Shonen Jump), such as Yu Gi Oh and Dragon Ball Z.
Major support will be mustered behind this launch. Cartoon Network, Suncoast, and Diamond are listed as promotional partners, and Viz is planning a 'multi-million dollar launch budget.'
Comic anthology magazines, while the primary format in which new manga are introduced in Japan, have had a rocky past in the US, where consumers have generally preferred full issues featuring a single character or story. DC took a big run at the anthology market a decade or more ago with Action Comics Weekly, but was not able to pull it off despite a lengthy period to find an audience and a substantial marketing budget.
The new US Jump will have a number of differences from past anthology efforts, however. First, the reliance on mass market outlets and advertising in addition to sales through pop culture stores for revenues may allow Viz to make the value proposition better (more pages per dollar of cover price) than past efforts. And second, the TV connection will turbo-charge this effort to a degree not previously seen--as we all know, what's on Cartoon Network sells.
Shueisha is the largest manga publisher in the world, with over $600 million in annual sales and a 30% share of the Japanese manga market. In addition to manga, Shueisha publishes fashion magazines, trade fiction, dictionaries, art books, and children's books.